Immigrants Quotes (93 Quotes)
“These days, it feels to me like you make a devil's pact when you walk into this country. You hand over your passport at the check-in, you get stamped, you want to make a little money, get yourself started... but you mean to go back! Who would want to stay? Cold, wet, miserable; terrible food, dreadful newspapers - who would want to stay? In a place where you are never welcomed, only tolerated. Just tolerated. Like you are an animal finally house-trained.”
“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations And Religions; whom we shall wellcome to a participation of all our rights and previleges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.”
“The interaction of disparate cultures, the vehemence of the ideals that led the immigrants here, the opportunity offered by a new life, all gave America a flavor and a character that make it as unmistakable and as remarkable to people today as it was to Alexis de Tocqueville in the early part of the nineteenth century.”
“I have seen them stagger out of their movie palaces and blink their empty eyes in the face of reality once more, and stagger home, to read the Times, to find out what's going on in the world. I have vomited at their newspapers, read their literature, observed their customs, eaten their food, desired their women, gaped at their art. But I am poor, and my name ends with a soft vowel, and they hate me and my father, and my father's father, and they would have my blood and put me down, but they are old now, dying in the sun and in the hot dust of the road, and I am young and full of hope and love for my country and my times, and when I say Greaser to you it is not my heart that speaks, but the quivering of an old wound, and I am ashamed of the terrible thing I have done.”
“This has been the century of strangers, brown, yellow and white. This has been the century of the great immigrant experiment. It is only this late in the day that you can walk into a playground and find Isaac Leung by the fish pond, Danny Rahman in the football cage, Quang O’Rourke bouncing a basketball, and Irie Jones humming a tune. Children with first and last names on a direct collision course. Names that secrete within them mass exodus, cramped boats and planes, cold arrivals, medical checks. It is only this late in the day, and possibly only in Willesden, that you can find best friends Sita and Sharon, constantly mistaken for each other because Sita is white (her mother liked the name) and Sharon is Pakistani (her mother thought it best — less trouble).”
“And yet. When I read the Dawn on line and then looked around me to the pristine surroundings of campus life, I knew that every other city in the world only showed me its surface, but when I looked at Karachi I saw the blood running through and out of its veins; I knew that I understood the unspoken as much as the articulated among its inhabitants; I knew that there were so many reasons to fail to love it, to cease to love it, to be unable to love it, that it made love a fierce and unfathomable thing; I knew I couldn’t think of Karachi and find any easy answers, and I didn’t know how to decide if that was reason to go back or reason to stay away.”
“Người Việt Nam đẻ ra là tự động biết sợ ma, sợ mơ thấy lửa, sợ gò má cao, sợ nốt ruồi ở tuyến lệ, sợ ăn thịt chó đầu tháng, sợ ăn thịt vịt đầu năm, sợ hương không uốn, sợ pháo không nổ, sợ năm hạn, sợ tuổi xung, sợ sao Thái Bạch, vân vân và vân vân.
Người Pháp không sợ vu vơ như vậy. Người Pháp gọi đó là mê tín dị đoan. Nhưng người Pháp học cấp một đã sử dụng trôi chảy các thuật ngữ: thất nghiệp, trợ cấp xã hội, lương tối thiểu, tiền thuê nhà, tiền trả góp, tiền bảo hiểm ô tô, hợp đồng làm việc ngắn hạn, dài hạn, thời gian thử thách, thuế thu nhập, thuế thổ trạch, thuế ngự cư, thuế vô tuyến truyền hình, thuế giá trị gia tăng...Người nước ngoài ở Pháp còn sử dụng trôi chảy thêm một số thuật ngữ khác: thẻ cư trú tạm thời, thẻ cư trú vĩnh viễn, thẻ lao động, hồ sơ tị nạn, hồ sơ quốc tịch, hồ sơ đoàn tụ gia đình, hồ sơ xin trợ cấp...”
“I feel that for white America to understand the significance of the problem of the Negro will take a bigger and tougher America than any we have yet known. I feel that America's past is too shallow, her national character too superficially optimistic, her very morality too suffused with color hate for her to accomplish so vast and complex a task. Culturally the Negro represents a paradox: Though he is an organic part of the nation, he is excluded by the ride and direction of American culture. Frankly, it is felt to be right to exclude him, and it if felt to be wrong to admit him freely. Therefore if, within the confines of its present culture, the nation ever seeks to purge itself of its color hate, it will find itself at war with itself, convulsed by a spasm of emotional and moral confusion. If the nation ever finds itself examining its real relation to the Negro, it will find itself doing infinitely more than that; for the anti-Negro attitude of whites represents but a tiny part - though a symbolically significant one - of the moral attitude of the nation. Our too-young and too-new America, lusty because it is lonely, aggressive because it is afraid, insists upon seeing the world in terms of good and bad, the holy and the evil, the high and the low, the white and the black; our America is frightened of fact, of history, of processes, of necessity. It hugs the easy way of damning those whom it cannot understand, of excluding those who look different, and it salves its conscience with a self-draped cloak of righteousness. Am I damning my native land? No; for I, too, share these faults of character! And I really do not think that America, adolescent and cocksure, a stranger to suffering and travail, an enemy of passion and sacrifice, is ready to probe into its most fundamental beliefs.”
“What I saw in Flint was a microcosm of the way the government treats the undocumented everywhere, making the conditions in this country as deadly and toxic and inhumane as possible so that we will self-deport. What I saw in Flint was what I had seen everywhere else, what I had felt in my own poisoned blood and bones. Being killed softly, silently, and with impunity.”
“It may be that writers in my position,exiles, or emigrants or expatriates, are haunted by some sense of loss, some urge to reclaim, to look back, even at the risk of being mutilated into pillars of salt. But if we do look back, we must do in the knowledge - which gives rise to profound uncertainties- that our physical alienation from India almost inevitably means that we will not be capable of reclaiming precisely the thing that was lost, that we will, in short, create fictions, not actual cities or villages, but invisible ones, imaginary homelands, Indias of the mind.”
“Superorganism. A biologist coined that word for our great African ant colonies, claiming that consciousness and intelligence resided not in the individual ant but in the collective ant mind. The trail of red taillights stretching to the horizon as day broke around us made me think of that term. Order and purpose must reside somewhere other than within each vehicle. That morning I heard the hum, the respiration of the superorganism. It's a sound the new immigrant hears but not for long. By the time I learned to say "6-inch Number 7 on rye with Swiss hold the lettuce," the sound, too, was gone. It became part of the what the mind would label silence. You were subsumed into the superorganism.”
“Like other discriminatory legislation in our country's history, immigration laws define and differentiate legal status on the basis of arbitrary attributes. Immigration laws create unequal rights. People who break immigration laws don't cause harm or even potential harm (unlike, for example, drunk driving, which creates the potential for harm even if no accident occurs). Rather, people who break immigration laws do things that are perfectly legal for others, but denied to them--like crossing a border or, even more commonly, simply exist.”
“When we came to America, though, we didn't know what the right thing was. Here we lived with no map. We became invisible, the people who swam in between other people's lives, bussing dishes, delivering groceries. What was wrong?
We didn't know. The most important thing, Abba said, was not to stick out. Don't let them see you. But I think it hurt him, to hide so much.”